Rainy Day Blues…

Hey everyone! I am so glad that today was not my day to run because it was pouring down rain when I woke up. Or I should say, when I got out of bed. I actually woke up around 3:30 AM and could not go back to sleep because of the noisy rain and my racing thoughts. If anyone has any recommendations on how to fall back to sleep during these situations (other than my husband’s obvious suggestion), I’d love to hear them.

When I finally got out of bed at 6 AM, I made a cheerful and eye-opening breakfast…

8.26 breakfast1

I mixed 1 carton of Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek Yogurt – vanilla flavor – with 2 chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 2 tbsp walnuts. After that, I was good to go until lunch! It’s amazing how Greek yogurt can fill you up – and the added MUFA from the walnuts doesn’t hurt either.

8.26 breakfast2

After a series of meetings, I was finally able to get a big chunk of work done – reading, writing, reviewing, etc. I hope I can be as productive this afternoon, although I’m feeling the itch to bolt out of here early.

Lunch was nearly identical to yesterday…

8.26 lunch2

Low-fat salami and ham with a piece of Swiss cheese on Brownberry Double Fiber bread. Only today, I had it with carrots instead of tomatoes.

8.26 lunch1

It’s someone’s 30th birthday in the office today and she brought a bunch of bakery treats. I am so wanting a piece of the chocolate coffee cake and the sprinkled butter cookies!

OK, back to work for me!

A Pepper Trifecta and Stevia Review

Hey Everyone! It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Chicago! It’s about 70 degrees and sunny. The exceptionally cool weather really helped my long run this morning. I was able to do 6 miles (that’s long for me!) with no problem. I think I am ready for summer to be over – bring on the Fall!

8.23 breakfast

For breakfast, I had the new Oikos Greek yogurt I picked up from Whole Foods – it was strawberry flavor. It was a first for me and it was just yummy with a tablespoon or two of walnuts (for extra MUFA) sprinkled on top.

8.20 OIkos-strawberry

I also tried a new product that was sent to me in the mail – Stevia In the Raw 100% natural sweetener.


I actually tried it a few weeks ago in homemade lemonade and thought there was a weird after taste to it. My husband just raved about it in his homemade iced tea, so I thought I’d give it another try in my hot tea this morning.

Tea with stevia

I brewed Harney and Sons whole leaf English Breakfast tea and added 1/2 a stevia packet. I’m sorry to report that the sweetener still has a weird taste and after taste that I just can’t get used to. I haven’t given up on it completely though – I may try using stevia as a replacement to sugar during baking. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

After breakfast, I was just lounging around the house, checking emails, etc. I put on my comfy yoga pants from the Gap (my new favorite pants) and my brand new running/yoga shirt from LUCY.


The shirt really describes how my life goes on most days – I’m up and running with the sun!

Lunch was leftovers – the other 1/2 of the chicken sandwich/burger that I ordered from Red Robin on Friday…

8.23 lunch3

I paired it with some fresh grilled red, green, and yellow bell peppers and grape tomatoes…

8.23 peppers

A perfect pepper trifecta!

8.23 lunch2

Finally, I had a few Cape Cod low-fat potato chips. My husband and I love Cape Cod chips because they are made from all-natural ingredients and have an awesome flavor.

8.23 Cape Cod chips1

As you can see, they are made with potatoes, oil, and salt – can’t get any more natural than that!

8.23 Cape Cod Chips2

Now, we’re both relaxing on our deck before heading off to our nephew’s birthday party.

See you all tonight everyone.

An Autumn Tease…

Oh my, what a chilly morning and a chilly day! It feels like Fall and it’s not even Labor Day yet. The Midwest is headed into a cool couple of days, with highs in the high 60s to low 70s. Although I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, I feel like I should do something Fall-ish, like apple picking.

After my morning run – which was awesome by the way because of the cool weather, I had a little breakfast.

8.21 breakfast2

Cheerios Muligrain! If you’ve never been a Cheerios fan or have written-off Cheerios as old people cereal, I suggest you try this new kind. It’s higher in fiber than regular Cheerios, is made with whole grains, and has a great flavor. Today, I added about 1/3 of a banana and 1 tbsp of sliced almonds for added monounsaturated fat (MUFA).

8.21 breakfast1

After breakfast, I had to run to Target to pick up a birthday present for my nephew, a task to which I was unsuccessful at completing. Target never seems to have the birthday gifts I need at the exact time I need them. Somehow, I still spent $30 and came out with things I had never intended on buying. Has this ever happened to you?

Next up was Trader Joe’s. I always have a great experience at Trader Joe’s, no matter what time of day or the day of the week. The people there seem to genuinely love their jobs – and you can’t beat the all-natural food products! I stocked up on Trader Joe’s Low-fat Greek  yogurt, as well as olive oil, walnuts, and jasmine rice. If you haven’t been to TJ’s in a while, they now sell these cool reusable shopping bags (Whole Foods has them too), that are made with 100% recycled materials. They’re way cool and they have the typical Trader Joe’s Caribbean themes. Plus, they are only 99 cents! I didn’t get one today because they were all out of the specific design I wanted, but I plan to get one next time.

After TJ’s my husband and I met for lunch at the local Red Robin. Not the fanciest place, but they have great sandwiches.

8.21 lunch2

I had the California chicken burger which was fantastic! It was really a burger, but rather a grilled chicken breast topped with provolone cheese, guacamole, and pickles – everything I love. Red Robin’s burgers are so huge that I only eat 1/2 and take the rest home. This is a great way to indulge in some great-tasting, but not-so-healthy, fun food, and not overdo it.

8.21 lunch1

It’s on the verge of raining right now, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the rest of the afternoon. Now that I think about it, a nap sounds like a great idea!

Have a great afternoon everyone and see you tonight.

Whole Foods Withdrawal

Afternoon everyone! Hope you’re day is going well. I had such an awesome run this morning. It’s so nice not being sick!

For breakfast, I had a quickie PB sandwich…

8.18 breakfast1

I took a very fresh slice of Brownberry Multigrain bread spread with about 2 tbsp all-natural creamy peanut butter. I also had about 3-4 oz of Tropicana all-natural OJ. This may not seem like much, but the nuts in the bread (and high fiber) combined with the peanut butter can really fill you up!

It took me forever to get ready for work today and nearly as long to actually get to work. I felt like everything was going in slow motion. It was after 9 AM by the time I arrived to work. So, immediately I jumped right into action on my first project, which took me nearly all the way to lunch.

8.18 lunch

I had another slice of Brownberry bread with about 1 oz of sliced turkey and low-fat salami deli meat, paired with carrots of course! Not very exciting, but definitely a nutritious office lunch.

I’m actually on a conference call/webinar right now, but plan to have a big chocolate chip cookie for an afternoon snack. Someone put them out in the staff lounge and I snagged one before they were all gone – he, he!

I think I may head out to Whole Foods after my call for a quick grocery run – I’m in need of more Dr. Kracker flatbreads! Also, I haven’t been to Whole Foods in nearly 3 weeks so I’m going through withdrawal.

Gotta run for now. Have a great afternoon everyone!

A Well "Balanced" Lunch

Hi all! It’s been a great morning so far, although I have been in meetings for a total of about 2 1/2 hours. Luckily it has not been one straight meeting, because I tend to zone out after an hour or so.

After my great run this morning, I munched on more crunchy cereal…

8.6 ceral1

It was my standard mix of Kashi Go Lean Crunch and cheerios.

On my way to work, I heard Starbucks calling my name so I stopped to get a tall mocha frap with light whip cream. Bummer that it nearly melted completed before I was able to drink it. I don’t like taking “frozen drinks” into business meetings. Even though it’s technically coffee, it somehow screams “spring break” and I don’t like to give that impression. Any hoo, the drink just sat there lonely on my desk, developing condensation. I came back to a melted drink and a wet desk. No fun…but the drink was still good.

Because a girl can’t live on frozen coffee alone – although I’m sure some girls think they can! – I made sure to eat a healthy lunch. It’s all about balance, ladies!

8.6 lunch2

I had a 1/2 turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with three-layer Trader Joe’s hummus and a little feta cheese. Hmm…good! I also had a side of carrots and a few pretzel “chips”.

Now, I think I’m all set for the afternoon.

We have a big day planned for tomorrow and the whole weekend. More details to follow tonight!

Morning Glory Run

It was an awesome morning for a run! It was 60 degrees, sunny, and no humidity. Perfect. So, it really goes without saying, I was so in my glory running this morning. On my way around the lake, I even threw in a few speed intervals on my 5-mile run because I had so much energy.

By the time I came home from my run, I was quite the hungry girl. For breakfast, I made a beautiful blueberry breakfast parfait…


Here’s what you’ll need to make the parfait:

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Parfait

  • 1 4-6 oz container Greek yogurt (I used Trader Joe’s nonfat blueberry)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Put a couple of heaping spoonfuls of yogurt in the bottom of a parfait glass (a glass mug or martini glass will also work), then add 1 tablespoon of nuts and about 1/3 of the blueberries. Continue to layer the ingredients in this order until all the ingredients have been used.

Serves one and is about 200 yummy calories. Enjoy!


I just love adding walnuts or pecans to yogurt, because in between all of the creaminess, you get a surprise crunch! And the colors are so pretty, don’t you think?

After breakfast, I spent most of the morning inside making the house acceptable again. Then, my husband and I headed out to do a few errands. We also made time for a little lunch at a local Italian cafe…

Chopped Salad2

I had a huge Italian chopped cobb salad which was brand new on the menu. And I do mean a HUGE salad- it could easily have been split by two people. It included smoked chicken, salami, chickpeas, tomatoes, salad greens, provolone, and tons of fresh basil. It sounds sooo good, right? Well, I thought so too. But after a few bites, the balsamic vinaigrette  dressing was a little too much for me and the basil was really overpowering the taste of all of the other ingredients.

Chopped Salad1

I ended up only eating about 1/3 of the salad. I really wanted to like this salad, but I don’t think I’d order it again.

Now, we’re packing up the car with our picnic supplies. We’re headed to another outdoor concert – this time to hear a variety of waltzes, including the Blue Danube, which is one of my favorites (ok, I’m really not that old, I’ve just heard it so many times that it’s grown on me.) 

Dinner is going to be great though – fresh chicken, hummus, and a raspberry white chocolate roll cake. Can’t wait.

I’ll post pictures later.

Fitness Magazines Motivate You To Live Healthy

I recently had someone ask me what health magazines I read. Oh my – there are so many! I am a magazine fanatic, but I especially love health and fitness magazines. I just love getting a bunch of little tidbits of health information all wrapped up in a nice, portable, easy to read package.


As for subscriptions, I subscribe to several magazines, mostly health-related, including:

  • Shape
  • Self
  • Fitness 
  • Real Simple
  • Marie Claire

And, there are many more that I don’t subscribe to that I frequently read, whether I get them from the library or read them while relaxing at Barnes and Noble. Here are just a few that I read (although do not subscribe to) on a regular basis:

  • Body and Soul
  • Yoga Journal
  • Natural Health
  • Fine Cooking
  • Cooking Light
  • Bon Appetit
  • Runner’s World

Health and fitness magazines are not the end-all, be-all in wellness information, but they provide a nice overview of what’s new and different in the wellness world, as well as new twists to old favorites. They also provide great ideas for recipes, new fitness or food products, and continued motivation to stay healthy. Although every magazine reguritates information, or at least topics, at some point, I can honestly say that I learn something new each time I read a new issue of my favorite magazines.

Now, on to my day….

What a difference a day makes! Although I still don’t feel completely rested, I woke up with way more energy than I did yesterday – maybe it’s because today is my day off! By the way, I did not do my Yoga Download last night. I became too engrossed in writing and watching Harry Potter at the same time. I’ve seen the first HP movie a dozen times but it never gets old.

I started my day with a 4 mile run, then walked for a short time. The weather was just perfect too, low humidity and 70 degrees. 

I had an appointment early this morning so I had to make a quick breakfast and get out the door.


I had a little cheerios with about 2 tbsp walnuts and, what else? Blueberries! I’m still trying to use up the monster-size blueberry container I purchased from Costco. It’s been almost 2 weeks and they are still in the fridge and still fairly fresh. 

I headed to may appointment then onto the grocery store where I picked up a ton of fresh fruit – bananas, pears, apples, etc. Can’t wait to dig in..

I was super hungry by the time I returned from the store – I’m really surprised I didn’t buy more groceries considering I was so hungry.

Time for lunch…

7.31 sandwich

I had a 1/2 sandwich made with peppered turkey breast and low-fat hard salami, a little white cheddar cheese, and some dijon mustard, all on a piece of 12-grain bread. I also had a few carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, and some Kettle’s Salt and Pepper chips on the side. Perfect for a hot summer lunch.

Carrot stick

After lunch, I took a quick dip in our pool. Once I was used to the cool water, it was quite refreshing on a hot day. 

Now, I’m off to write more articles. Chat with you later.

Lunch in the Garden Can Boost Your Mood

Hello everyone. I had an awesome afternoon today. My team went out to lunch at a local botanical garden. I just love my job!

I was so extremely tired before lunch, but then when we arrived at the gardens, I seemed to perk up – and wake up – a little. It’s funny how your environment can affect your mood like that. I mean, how can you not be happy and inspired by all of this color…


Definitely no grey gardens here!

Before venturing into the garden for a quick stroll, we ate at the little garden cafe. Although the cafe has a very limited menu, what they serve is all natural and the produce is all organic. Even the plates and utensils are environmentally friendly – they’re all biodegradable. 

For lunch, I had a very tasty grilled veggie panini made with portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, tomato, and goat cheese on focaccia bread. The presentation of the food was quite lackluster – it was served in a cardboard holder – but the panini made up for it.


The sandwich came with a few crinkle chips, but I only ate a few. I wanted to save more room for the yummy sammy!


After lunch, we headed into the gardens and they were amazing! They reminded me of gardens I had seen in Europe. We only spent about 20 minutes there, but I was still able to get some great shots.triangle garden


It was a beautiful day to take in all of the sites at the garden. And, I just love sneaking in exercise on my extended lunch hour. It makes the day go by so much faster and I burn a few calories too!

Although I was pretty full from my panini, I wanted a little somethin’ somethin’ in the afternoon. So, for a quick treat, I ate the lemon pound cake that I saved from my trip to the gardens.

Lemon pound cake

It was so lemony and sweet! It tasted a lot like Ina Garten’s yogurt lemon cake recipe, which I absolutely love.

I was still a little full by the time I arrived home from work at 6 PM, so I had a lighter dinner than I planned.


It was a simple dinner of roasted veggies, with about 1 cup pasta with marinara sauce. I also added 3/4 of an Italian sausage for protein and spicy flavor.

I have a few more things to get finished tonight, so gotta run! Have a great night all.

Super Spinach = SuperFood

Boy, did I have a little scare this afternoon. I was going through some of my blog photos and ended up deleting a bunch of them. I didn’t even notice that they were gone until my husband sent me a message from work saying that a bunch of my photos were missing from my posts. Panic set it. But then after I collected myself and got to the root of the problem, I calmed down a bit. Luckily, I had saved all of my photos in a folder on my computer and was able to reload the ones that I lost. Whew, that was close!

Aside from that, I had a pretty decent afternoon, catching up on reading and blogging. Oh, yeah, I had a little lunch too!

Spinach Salad

I had a wonderful spinach salad with homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing. This was my first time making and eating a spinach-based salad. It was also my first time making the vinaigrette.

My husband and I have really been getting on the spinach bandwagon these days – if there is such a  thing. It’s been said time and time again that spinach is one of the superfoods, packed with everything healthy under the sun. Ok, that’s exaggerating a little, but spinach really does have tremendous health benefits. It’s full of omega-3s and folate, while it also prevents against heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Spinach also contains lutein, which is known to fight the ageing process. It’s just crazy that one food can provide so many health benefits – I guess that’s why it’s a superfood.

Wanting to eat more spinach, I have purchased probably 4 bags of spinach in two weeks. I try to add it to everything, sauces, risotto, etc. But, it goes bad pretty fast. So when I saw that we still had nearly 2 full bags left, I thought I should try to make use of it.

For my salad, I used:

Spinach-Walnut Salad

About 4 cups of baby spinach

1/4 chopped cucumber

1 carrot

1/2 cup grape tomatoes

2 tbs walnuts

1/4 cup feta cheese


1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbs sugar

splash of olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender and pour over salad. Dressing makes 4-6 servings.

Both the salad and dressing turned out fantastic. And, the combination of flavors made this salad amazing. I will definitely be making this salad again. Too bad my husband didn’t get to try it – sorry honey!

Spinach Salad close-up

In spite of the overcast day, it was still hot and humid. To beat the heat from inside the house, I spent about 2 hours outside this afternoon in a tank top, without sunscreen (except on my face). So later today, as I felt a twinge of pain on my shoulders and back, I looked in the mirror and saw an unexpected sunburn. Serves me right for not protecting my skin!

Because Saturdays and Sundays are grocery shopping days, Fridays are usually a little light and unpredictable when it comes to dinner. We usually have leftovers or something quick – whatever is in the house that we can whip up fast. Tonight was no exception.


I made tomato-basil marinara with a side of steamed broccoli. I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat organic pasta, which has higher fiber than white pasta. Trader Joe’s pasta is also surprisingly less expensive than typical grocery store pastas – so we buy most of our noodles there.

TJ whole wheat pasta

For the sauce, I used Newman’s Own, Tomato & Basil Bombolina sauce. Newman’s Own sauces are all-natural and many are also organic. Although my husband and I usually make our own pasta sauce and freeze it, Newman’s is our go-to sauce when we run out of our own.

Newman's Tomato Basil

So, it was not the most exciting dinner, but it was still a low-calorie, all-natural, and nutritious one. 

Now I’m debating what I want for. Hmmmm…homemade cookies or chocolate peanut butter ice cream. I’ll let you know tomorrow!!!

Mission Possible: Eating Healthy At Work

Wow, what an afternoon! I reviewed more videotape timecodes, had a meeting, and gave a presentation to about 35 people. All in a day’s work! Luckily, in all of the chaos I was able to stop and take a break for lunch – and it was catered again – yeah for me!

Lunch salad

Lunch was salad and wraps for today. I was not in the mood for a messy wrap, so I opted for salad. It was kind of a make-your-own salad, so I added tons of greens that had carrots, peppers, and cucs mixed in, plus I added cherry tomatoes, cheese cubes, and chopped chicken, all with a little Italian vinaigrette – delicious. But, my lunch didn’t stop there…


There were also fruit kabobs for dessert – I just love where I work. My kebob had pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, and a huge strawberry on the end. Between the fruit on a stick and the salad, I had at least 4 servings of fruits and veggies – all in one sitting. I guess this shows that you really can eat healthy while at work.

By the time I arrived home around 6:30 PM, I was still not very hungry. However, I knew I had to have a little something to eat.


My husband was working late, so I made a turkey burger for myself (only ate about 2/3 of it) with a side of grape tomatoes. It was just enough. And, because my husband and I have both been working very hard this week, I decided to surprise him and make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Won’t he be surprised? Well, he won’t be that surprise, because he knows that oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookies to make. I make them so much that I know the recipe by heart and can make them in 45 minutes flat.

Plate of cookies

Now for the close-up…

Chocolate chip cookie

Hmmm, so goood!

Now that I have a tummy full of cookies, I’m going to catch up on my reading – my new Shape magazine just arrived! – and then I’m hitting the sack.

Have a great night everyone.